China says boy picked by Dalai Lama now a college graduate

China says boy picked by Dalai Lama now a college graduate

BEIJING — China said Tuesday that a boy who disappeared 25 years ago after being picked by the Dalai Lama as Tibetan Buddhism’s second-highest figure is now a college graduate with a stable job.

Very little information has been given about Gedhun Choekyi Nyima or his family since he went missing at age 6 shortly after being named the 11th Panchen Lama.

China, which claims that Tibet is part of its territory, named another boy to the position, Gyaltsen Norbu, who is rarely seen and is believed to spend most of his time in Beijing. He is generally viewed as a political figure under Beijing’s control and shares none of the Dalai Lama’s global fame.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Gedhun Choekyi Nyima “received free compulsory education when he was a child, passed the college entrance examination and now has a job.” Zhao said neither the now-31-year-old man or his family wishes to be disturbed in their “current normal lives.” No other details were given.

The tussle between Beijing and the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959, concerns who will determine the future of Tibetan Buddhism, which still commands heavy sway over the people of the Himalayan region that China says has been its territory for centuries but which many Tibetans believe was largely independent.

Tibet’s self-declared government-in-exile in India marked the 25th anniversary of Gedhun Choekyi Nyima’s disappearance by calling on Beijing on Sunday to account for his whereabouts.

“China’s abduction of the Panchen Lama and forcible denial of his religious identity and right to practice in his monastery is not only a violation of religious freedom but also a gross violation of human rights,” the Tibetan parliament in northern India, known as the Kashag, said in a statement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also issued a statement on Monday calling on China to “immediately make public the Panchen Lama’s whereabouts and to uphold its own constitution and international commitments to promote religious freedom for all persons.”

The Dalai Lama named the original Panchen Lama with the help of Tibetan lamas trained in reading portents and signs. China claims the reincarnate can only be chosen by pulling lots from a golden urn, a method it used to pick its own candidate under the control of the officially atheistic ruling Communist Party.

Traditionally, the Panchen Lama has served as teacher and aide to the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s highest leader who is now 84 and is accused by Beijing of seeking independence for Tibet. The Dalai Lama denies that and says he advocates greater autonomy for the region.

The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta discussing early Stage 2 economic relaunch

Nineteen new COVID-19 cases confirmed by government Wednesday

Red Deer city council defeats bylaw that would have expanded cannabis sales locations

Sixty possible locations would be “overkill,” says Coun. Lawrence Lee

Traffic delays in Red Deer are caused by sidewalk construction

Drivers are urged to slow down near 32nd Street and Taylor Drive

COVID-19 crushing longtime family-owned guide outfitter

What was once a thriving business has all but dried up. Steve… Continue reading

Solidarity together: Central Albertans protest in Red Deer against racism

There’s no such thing as a little bit of racism. Even one… Continue reading

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID after exposure to the virus: study

Nunavut RCMP to consider body cameras as tension between police, Inuit grows

Nunavut RCMP to consider body cameras as tension between police, Inuit grows

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

Stockwell Day steps down from several roles after comments about racism

Trudeau to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser amid calls for fair access

Trudeau to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser amid calls for fair access

Joint inquiry or review of mass killing taking shape, N.S. justice minister says

Joint inquiry or review of mass killing taking shape, N.S. justice minister says

Greens likely to hold virtual leadership convention due to pandemic: May

Greens likely to hold virtual leadership convention due to pandemic: May

Meng hearing schedule to expand; lawyers ask for ‘referee’ in case

Meng hearing schedule to expand; lawyers ask for ‘referee’ in case

As some protesters in D.C. gird for battle, others provide first aid, supplies

As some protesters in D.C. gird for battle, others provide first aid, supplies

Most Read